Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pineapple upside-down cake

Pineapple upside-down cake was invented in the U.S. sometime in the 1920s, I think. Basically it was just skillet cake that used the new invention of canned sliced pineapple for a pretty, easy pattern. I kind of associate it with the whole 1950s fascination with Hawaii (not that it is authentic Hawaiian anything, but then, 1950s cooking wasn't really about authenticity anyway. Picture women's home magazines, ward dinners, etc...) Mom used to cook it, and I'm pretty sure La Fawn and Helen did, too, so you can call it an old family recipe.
It's pretty easy to make. Get a glass or aluminum pan, and cover the bottom with a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar. Maybe half a cup? It should be about a quarter inch thick on the bottom of the pan. Lay canned pineapple slices in a symmetric arrangement over the brown sugar. If you have maraschino cherries you can put those in the middle of each ring.
Then make up a yellow cake mix from a box (the kind where you add eggs, oil, and water. Betty Crocker or something like that.) But instead of using water, use the liquid from the pineapple can. Pour the batter over the pineapples and sugar. Then bake it how it says on the cake box. I'm guessing 350 degrees for 25 minutes? I guess it depends whether you made a short fat cake or used the biggest glass pan you have and made it really flat.
It tastes best when you eat it hot, maybe with a little vanilla ice cream or a glass of milk.
The key to the flavor is that the brown sugar becomes caramel in the cooking process, and the flavors of the pineapple, sugar, and butter all kind of soak into the cake.
If you cut half of it off and put it inverted on the other half, you can have pineapple inside-out cake. But this is messy and is really done just so you can say that silly phrase.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cajun rice and sausage

I made rice and sausage the other day with kielbasa instead of ground sausage. I chopped up a bell pepper with the celery. I added some thyme and cayenne pepper (maybe 1/4 tsp) and a bay leaf to make it more cajun-y. We liked it a lot.